Sunday, August 17, 2014

In the Work of the Kingdom, Taking Care of the Details Really Does Matter

When Craig was on his mission he spent his first nine months here in Fortaleza - he didn't even meet his mission president until he was transferred to Sao Paulo.  He then ended up working in the office as the Mission Secretary and later as AP for a total of 13 months.  While he was good at the work, he longed to proselyte. Then-Elder Kimball came to visit the mission for a few days.  Early one morning he said to Craig, "Elder Evans, I know you would prefer being in the field doing full-time proselyting work but I want you to understand that the Lord needs servants with certain skills to do the administrative work in the Church.  Have no doubt that this work is not only important, but vital to the building and strengthening of His kingdom here on earth.  He needs you here more than anywhere else at this time so work hard to do your best at whatever you are called to do."

Fast forward to our time in the MTC.  We met a lovely couple who was also heading out to serve a mission who shared a tragic story.  Their daughter had married a man who was ordained an Elder but had not been through the temple.  The young couple moved to another state, and after their baby was born he talked to their new Bishop about blessing her.  The Bishop informed him he couldn't do that because he was not an Elder.  The man knew he had been ordained an Elder, and figured if the Church couldn't keep track of him any better than that, he was out.  He took his wife, daughter, and a daughter who was born later and none of them will have anything to do with the church.

Unlike most of my posts, these stories are totally related.  Our work in the office is much more like any office-type job than a church calling, let alone missionary work.  We asked to be office missionaries because we are both comfortable in the setting and because we feel a certain level of competence to do the office work.  Sometimes I'm sad that we're not more involved with the traditional Missionary Work, but I have a strong testimony that good record keeping is vital, and I don't think it was an accident that we connected with the MTC couple who shared the sad story above.

Earlier I've said that Craig helps with the missionaries' apartments and the finances.  I help with entering references (our missionaries are AWESOME at getting these - we can have 40 a day sometimes!) and entering the Baptismal Records, of which we have 40sh a week.  Every time I start entering the Baptismal Records I pray that I won't make an error that would result in someone falling through the cracks and getting lost, or being offended by a typo.  Besides the ever-present trickiness of handwriting, the handwriting here is different, as are the names.  I'm especially not used to the multiple last names!  I've BEGGED the Elders to use commas so I know when the last name ends!

Urim and Thumim, anyone???
My point in sharing this is two-fold.  One is to clarify that not all great missionary experiences include proselyting (but keep reading...) and the other is to ensure those of you who have callings that are more clerical that what you're doing is important.  I think of dear Brother Torgersen in my home ward.  I'm pretty sure he's been the ward financial clerk for 15-20 years  He spends LONG hours in a very behind-the-scenes job.  I hope I've thanked him as often as I've called him with a concern...

So this week we have been sick with really bad colds that want to grow up to be pneumonia.  I was flat in bed for two days and Craig was home sick for four days because his first sick day was spent scrubbing all our floors, defrosting our freezer, doing laundry, etc, bless his heart!  (Our days didn't overlap---I didn't know he did all that until I got home!)  The next few days were really bad for him - he says he's never been hit by a cold like this.  He's actually still quite sick today, but needs to go in the office next week as we are going to have an audit on the mission finances!

The positive side is that I was forced to be a little more independent, and get to work on my own (well, Craig did insist I take a taxi, but still...) and I did our grocery shopping on my own.  The check out clerk was very patient with my Portuguese and I felt so proud and as I walked off and confidently thanked her and wished her a good day.  In French.  Happens so often!!!

Frankly, I was glad to take a taxi and for once not arrive at the office looking like I had just finished a work out!  I took these "Before" walking to the office from home, and "After" arriving at the office pictures the other day... not quite sure why I bother to shower or do my hair each morning!!!

Craig had really bad cabin fever yesterday so we took a small walk.  Usually this is all I see of the ocean, but we try to take a long walk along the sidewalk by the beach on Saturdays (our P-Day.)  
If we walk home in the light, I at least get
to see the ocean from a distance...

Yesterday instead of a long walk, we walked out to the pier that is really close to our house and for the first time saw the sunset (as my kids know, watching the sunset on the ocean is my dearest thing.)  I know - we're on the East coast, but because of the curve of Fortaleza we found that we can still see it setting on the water!  Parallel to the shore, but it's still on the water!

Now I'm going to beg to do this every week!!!
Investigator Update:  The investigator that the Office Elders have to take me to (because she's single) has agreed to baptism!  (She does have a name... Luciani)  I am overwhelmed at all there is to teach an investigator.  The Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith are one thing, but we haven't touched Tithing, Modesty, Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy, Chastity, Word of Wisdom, etc.  So they are thankfully going to push her date back a bit.  But it is a joy to see her light up as she learns wonderful doctrine like Baptism for the Dead.  She is so excited at the thought of being able to do that for her parents!

It's a great Work, and I'm so happy that my Jessie joined the army of missionaries this week!  I will miss skyping with her, but am so excited for the opportunities that await her!  The Church is true!  We are so happy to be able to work full-time in spreading the message, even if our duties are a little mundane - we know they are vital!

Our Love to All!

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